NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – What started as a website experiment begun by New Providence residents Michael and Lauryn Shapiro five years ago, The Alternative Press and its family of more than 30 town sites now has a readership of over 2,000,000 annually. Now, The Alternative Press is taking its next step in its evolution, announcing the beginning of its rebranding as TAPinto.net, the future launch of a state-of-the-art website, and expansion plans for summer 2014.
While The Alternative Press rebrands as TAPinto.net, a state-of-the-art website is being perfected for launch, projected for July 2014. The new website will be significantly faster to load, easier on the eyes, and will include a dedicated mobile site, enhanced video capabilities, and more opportunities for local businesses to market themselves to their local customer base.
The Shapiros, who wanted to create an objective online local newspaper for their town and develop a business model to support it, began the business in October 2008 and quickly expanded to three towns, Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Summit. The growth in the number of town sites, readership metrics, and advertising support has since been meteoric. Six months ago, The Alternative Press began franchising sites to residents of towns who wanted to start their own, objective online newspaper and run it as their own business. Today, The Alternative Press has owner/publishers in over 30 communities in New Jersey and two in Pennsylvania, becoming a model for local news in the country.
When The Alternative Press began, it was named The Alternative Press because it was the alternative to the local hardcopy newspaper for the New Providence area. “Today, we are no longer the alternative. We are the press covering our towns. With the decline of local newspapers and AOL’s Patch, in many towns, if we are not reporting on it, there is no one reporting on it. We take this responsibility and commitment to report on the news in our communities very seriously. Today, we announce that people can now TAP into their town’s news and information at TAPinto.net,” said Michael Shapiro, Founder and Publisher. At TAPinto.net, residents can select their town from the town drop down menu and read all the news and information specifically for their town. Readers can sign up to receive the news via email for free at www.tapinto.net/enews.
TAPintoEastBrunswick.net and TapIntoMilltownSpotswood.net are both owned by franchisee Rob Rakossy, who has been a resident of East Brunswick for 25 years. "I made the investment in both of these franchises because I strongly believe in the model of on line news and local advertising, and even more importantly, because of the lack of information available to residents of this area as to what is happening in their own towns. People are starving for local news of all kinds, and we intend to be the place anybody in the area can go to when they want to know what is relevant and current," said Rakossy.
A recently concluded demographic survey shows 74% of TAPinto readers earn an average household income of at least $100,000 annually with 37% earning over $200,000 annually. 54% have purchased a product or service due to an advertisement they viewed on TAPinto.net, and 87% of readers visit the site at least twice a week, with 40% of readers visiting at least 5 days a week.
Expansion plans for the summer include also launching more than a half dozen new franchised sites in Morris, Essex, Somerset and Union Counties, as well as expansion into both Northern and Southern New Jersey.